Formula E

ABT driver Lucas di Grassi on Formula E's Gen4 car: "Still plenty of room for future improvements"

Tobias Wirtz

Tobias Wirtz

With the manufacturer tenders for the fourth generation of Formula E cars, which are to be used in the electric series from 2027, the FIA announced the first data on the cars just over six months ago. However, ABT Cupra driver Lucas di Grassi does not think the plans go far enough. The season 3 champion would like to further improve the performance of the cars.

Up to 600 kW of power output, all-wheel drive, two different tyre compounds from a new manufacturer, plus different body kits with high and low downforce: Formula E will undergo major technical changes in its 13th season. With the Gen4 cars, the races will also be significantly longer for the first time.

"There is still plenty of room for future improvements," writes Lucas di Grassi in a column for Autosport. "For example, flexible aerodynamics, a lighter battery that is only intended for qualifying and independent motors for torque vectoring and all-wheel steering. These functions won't be available in the Gen4 car, but it's something to consider for the future."

One of di Grassi's complaints is that the fourth-generation Formula E cars will be heavier. He would also have preferred to see slicks rather than continuing to drive with all-weather tyres, which are to be supplemented by pure rain tyres.

"In terms of aerodynamics, I think the two body kits will be an improvement - but not enough," he continues. "It would be incredible to have fully customisable and software-controlled aerodynamic parts. For example, you could have high downforce in the corners and low drag on the straights (and everything in between). But it is imperative that all teams have the same access to the same parts in order to be competitive."

Currently, the plans of Formula E and the FIA envisage that there will be different races with the two aerodynamic packages: Energy-saving races over a longer race distance with low downforce and full power races over a shorter distance with high downforce.

"Wheel covers must be reintroduced"

"Another simple change that I would support is the reintroduction of wheel covers, like we had on the Gen2," says the Brazilian. "These only have advantages - they reduce drag and increase protection from contact, while in wet races they reduce spray and therefore increase safety. I don't understand why they were abolished for Gen3, as we don't change tyres during pit stops, so it's not a problem. For Gen4 they need to be reintroduced."

Di Grassi would also like to use this to give manufacturers more options to customise their car with a brand-specific design without affecting performance. "The ability of a manufacturer to put its visual identity on the car is fundamental," he writes. "I think Formula E should allow manufacturers to make the cars look different with parts like headlights and rear lights that don't bring aerodynamic benefits."

In order to prove the performance of the new cars, di Grassi would also like to have a direct comparison with other categories - at the Macau Grand Prix, probably the most traditional street race in the world. "In terms of performance, one of the requirements for the Gen4 would be that it can drive on the entire Macau Guia Circuit and is faster than Formula 3 and GT3 cars on at least one lap in qualifying," he says.

"For me, that would be a great indicator that we are heading in the right direction. The core of Formula E is street circuits, and the best street circuit in the world is Macau. So where better to try and have the fastest car?"

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jeronimo ·

I don't like Di Grassi, but I admit that these ideas about the future of the FE are still very correct.

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